Byford chatted with riders on Thursday, March 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, from the Subway Rail Control Center in Midtown.
Straphangers were encouraged to tweet @NYCTSubway and use the hashtag #AskNYCT.
This is the job. I believe that being accessible and responsive to customers is a key part of making the system better. In my ten weeks here, I have focused my time on tangible actions to improve things. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/kRwb3ze44A— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
"I'm not interested in PR stunts," Byford said in response to a user to questioned his motives. "I haven't got time for PR stunts. I have got time to talk to my customers."
Some users questioned what the MTA was doing to help disabled passengers.
Hi Sarah. Ideally, we would do that, but there's a limit to how much work can be done during the shutdown. Some accessibility work will be done, and I have initiated a survey of the remaining inaccessible stations as I want to make them all accessible. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/LXgwJVlKVA— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
And of course, passengers compared subway service in New York to subway service in other large cities.
The challenge we face is tackling decades of underinvestment that is manifesting itself in poor subway reliability. For this reason, a huge amount of work is being undertaken at quieter periods, but we try to balance this to still provide service. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/UU2BCnmO05— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
Byford said that at the end of the day, he did learn something from his interactions with customers.
The chats will be a monthly event, with the next one focused on buses and Access-A-Ride paratransit service. Future chats will feature other members of NYC Transit leadership as well.
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